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Filmmakers have long sought to rewire the grammar and symbolism of classical cinema, interrogated the material of the film strip, and entered and dismantled the mechanisms of the apparatus itself.
Soon after the polished self-congratulatory Oscar silliness in Hollywood, in little old New York its the time to see unpolished underground cinema.
For the last decade, the Museum of Modern Art has presented an annual sampling of international non-fiction films and media works that probe the interstices of cinema and contemporary art. Continuing in this mode, this years Documentary Fortnight presents a selection of entries from 14 different countries, with an emphasis on Latin America and China.
In 2007 Ed Halter and Thomas Beard began presenting film and electronic art under the name Light Industry, first in a raw space in a dim corner of Industry City, Brooklyn, and later in a downtown storefront on Livingston Street.
Since his widely celebrated ethnographic documentary Dead Birds was released in 1964, Robert Gardner has served as a bit of a punching bag for great numbers of anthropologists and nonfiction filmmakers.
Just a few days after the artist and activist Dara Greenwald passed away, a project to upload nearly all of her video work to Vimeo was close to completion.
In the 10 years since the inception of the Copenhagen International Documentary Festival (CPH:DOX), Scandinavias major documentary festival, nonfiction filmmaking has arguably undergone more changes than in all its prior decades combined.
In what would have been his 90th year, the Italian poet, filmmaker, linguist, polemicist, and journalist Pier Paolo Pasolini has been honored with a number of events in New York City.
El Sicario, Room 164 opens with establishing shots inside a sterile, franchise-looking hotel room. Director Gianfranco Rosis low-grade digital camera stops on the hairdryer, the headboard, the TV stand, before introducing the titular subject, an ex-hitman for a Mexican drug cartel, standing in front of the hotel bathroom mirror adjusting the black shroud that hell wear over his head for the duration of the film.
In recent years, the Festival del film Locarno has distinguished itself among the more prominent international fests by packing its slate with daring work from under-sung filmmakers, spotlighting debut directors, and premiering some of the most strange and interesting work from established ones.
Scale is an idea all of its own. Daredevils is artist, poet, and performer Stephanie Barbers first feature-length film, and this expanded space becomes a repository for ideas for and about art, and for observations on interaction and interrelation. Here, the excitement of ideas, and of seeing, functions like the rising and falling of serotonin levels, moments of ecstasy leading to inevitably painful ends. Moments bend within that split second when happiness turns into melancholy on contact with the intellect.
Experimental film seems to occupy an increasingly marginal place in contemporary cinema. Even as microcinemas and local scenes and collaboratives continue to proliferate, what should be cinemas most vital form remains, for most, the sideshow attraction to commercial cinemas decaying mainstage.
Peggy Ahwesh has been a film and videomaker since the 1970s, working across genres, styles, and approaches throughout. More recently, she has been making work during her stays in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, filming and teaching at Al-Quds Bard College.
Bernardo Ruiz’s 2012 documentary Reportero centers on the independent Mexican investigative news magazine Zeta, whose reporters were increasingly the targets of violent attacks from the cartels. Shortly before the documentary began shooting, two of Zeta’sreporters had been murdered. The film portrays the difficulty and profound risk involved in trying to do standard investigative journalism in present-day Mexico.
ONE IMAGE DOESNT TAKE THE PLACE OF THE PREVIOUS ONE
By Leo Goldsmith and Rachael Rakes
Harun Farockis Images of War (at a Distance) at MoMA
The centerpiece of Harun Farockis Images of War (at a Distance), on view at the Museum of Modern Art through January 2, 2012, is a four-screen installation entitled Serious Games I-IV (2009-10) that documents the use of video game technology in the imaging and imagining of war.
At its premiere screening in the New York Film Festival last fall, Ben Riverss Two Years at Sea fit comfortably among a series of films prefiguring the coming years end-of-days.
Ostensibly, Joanna Hoggs latest film, Exhibition, is her most architectural to date. Nearly all of the action takes place in a striking modernist home in London, and the focus on the air, the light, and the limits and liberties of the structure are woven into the narrative inextricably.
Every February, the Museum of Modern Arts Documentary Fortnight presents a program of new work that reveals non-fiction medias often tenuous foothold between the film and art worlds.